Physical activity

About Physical activity

Physical activity is an important part of a healthy lifestyle. Regular physical activity is associated with many health benefits, including improved fitness, prevention of weight gain, and lower risk of heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, diabetes and some cancers. In addition, regular physical activity and healthy eating can promote well-being and relieve stress. For children, regular physical activity is also associated with improved academic performance.

Physical Activity and the Environment

Neighborhood conditions and resources can encourage or discourage healthy behaviors. Aspects of the physical environment - such as the presence of well-maintained green spaces, bicycle paths, walking paths, stairs, exercise facilities and perceived safety - encourage physical activity. Healthy food choices combined with physically active lifestyle support maintenance of an optimal bodyweight and overall good health.

About the Data and Indicators

Physical activity indicators presented on this site are derived from the biennial NYC Youth Risk Behavior Survey and the annual Community Health Survey. They are estimates that depend on study participants’ accurate recollections and reporting.

Health Promotion Strategies

  • Walk or bike to work and to run errands.
  • Get off the subway a stop or two early and walk the rest of the way.
  • Take the stairs instead of the elevator.
  • Maintain good nutrition habits to support an active lifestyle, including:
    • Drink very low calorie beverages, like water and unsweetened tea. Avoid sugary drinks.
    • Eat smaller portions that include more fruits and vegetables.
    • Use healthy fats, such as canola and olive oils. Avoid unhealthy fats, such as lard, butter and trans fat-containing foods.

Key Messages

In spite of the potential benefits, many New Yorkers do not get the recommended 30 or more minutes of physical activity on five or more days of the week.

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Recent exercise

Adults reporting exercise in the past 30 days (from when they were surveyed). Regular exercise is a key way to stay healthy.

Recent biking

Adults reporting biking for transportation in the last 7 days (from when they were surveyed).

Recent walking

Adults reporting walking for transportation in the last 7 days (from when they were surveyed)

Walking or biking for transportation

Adults reporting walking or biking for transportation in the last 30 days (from when they were surveyed). Regularly walking or biking for transportation is good for you.

Monthly bicycle use

Adults reporting having ridden a bicycle at least once a month in the past year.